There is a great debate worldwide, if marijuana should be used in easing cancer pain or not, and the opinion of the physicians varies a lot.
To complicate the picture, a recent study has discovered that smoking marijuana effectively relieves chronic HIV-associated nerve pain, like aching, painful numbness, and burning.
In this five days investigation, carried on a Californian hospital, 50 people with HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, the most spread HIV nerve condition, were assigned in two groups, one receiving marijuana joints while
the other smoked identical placebo cigarettes three times a day.
The researchers discovered that people who receive marijuana experienced a daily pain decrease by 34 % compared to 17 % in the placebo group. "Smoking marijuana was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic nerve pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy," said study author Donald Abrams, MD, with San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco, California.
"Our findings show the amount of relief from smoking marijuana is comparable to relief provided by oral drugs currently used for chronic nerve pain. While some HIV patients with chronic nerve pain are able to take anticonvulsant drugs, such as lamotrigine and gabapentin, to ease pain, some patients don't respond well to these drugs."
"That's why there's heightened interest in evaluating marijuana as a treatment for chronic nerve pain." he added.
The research also revealed that the first marijuana cigarette decreased chronic pain by an average of 72 % versus 15 % with placebo while more than half of the people who smoked marijuana felt a more than 30 % decrease in pain compared to 24 % in the placebo group.
The side effects of the marijuana were minor. Researchers say "Similar results were reported in two recent placebo-controlled studies of marijuana-related therapies for nerve pain associated with multiple sclerosis."